Phantom Spring Rhubarb Muffins

This recipe, believe it or not, is from my cookbook and, since it is almost Spring, I thought you might like to try these. Be prepared- they do not last long. Maybe that is why they are called phantom. Hmmm.

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup Crisco oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 cup diced rhubarb
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • pinch of sale

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Blend together the sour cream, oil and egg. Set aside. Mix only until just blended. Spray muffin tin with Pam or like non-stick spray. Use a large 12 cup muffin tin and fill 2/3 full.


  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. melted butter

Combine the ingredients well and spoon on top of each muffin. Bake these for about 30 minutes.

Mediterranean Salad

This is a slightly different salad that bodes well with chicken. Try it and you will see what a great marriage it is. Try the chicken dish that is stuffed with vegetables on this site.  In a word -YUM!


  • 5 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp. dried dill
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • pinch of salt and pepper

Whisk this together until well blended. Set in refrigerator until ready to use.


  • 1 cup brown rice, long grain
  • 2 cups water

Bring the rice and water to a boil and reduce heat to medium. Cover and let simmer until liquid has been absorbed (35-40 minutes). If you have a rice cooker, use it as it is less messy and will be timed perfectly. Remove from heat, keep it covered and let stand for 30 minute then fluff with a fork. Back to the salad. Add:

  • 1 English cucumber, diced
  • 1/2 cup sliced green olives

Transfer rice to a large bowl, add the cucumber, mixed spring greens and olives. Drizzle some of the dressing over the salad, toss to combine. Add additional dressing, as desired.

Company’s Coming Celebration Wheel

This is a great starter with your Company arriving. They will be so appreciative that you took the time to pamper them. It has been awhile we know.

  • 1/2 cup cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp. grated Asiago cheese
  • 2 tbsp. grated Romano cheese
  • 1 garlic clove,  grated
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp. hot sauce (your favourite)
  • pinch each of salt and white pepper
  • 1/2 cup of roughly chopped artichoke hearts (canned variety)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped spinach
  • 1 pkg. puff pastry, thawed
  • 4 tbsp. Painter’s guacamole (my site)
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 tbsp. water, plus extra for wash
  • 1 egg

In a large bowl mix together the cream cheese, mayonnaise, cheeses, salt and pepper, garlic, and basil until really well combined. Now add the artichoke and spinach, mixing to incorporate.

Roll out 1 sheet of pastry to about a 13 inch circle. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Spread the guacamole in the centre of the circle leaving a 1 inch border around the edge.

Spread carefully the spinach mixture out on top of the guacamole and spread the shredded cheese evenly over the surface.

With a pastry brush dipped in water, run it around the edge.

Roll out the other pastry into the same size circle and set over the spinach layer so the edges match. Press the pastry all over to from the center out, and press together to seal. Using a fork, poke holes all over to allow the steam to escape. Now invert a 12 1/2 inch plate on top and trim off any pastry that hangs from the edges. You can use the excess pastry to make any type of decoration. Refrigerate the pastry and decorations for about half an hour.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Now comes the fun part. Lightly press a small bowl to cover the center of the circle. and with a pastry/pizza wheel, cut into quarters from the bowl edge to the pastry edge. Now cut each quarter, into 6 equal strips, twisting each one 2-3 times. Remove little bowl.

Whisk together water and egg to make a wash and with a pastry brush, brush the entire surface and bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes until a lovely golden brown. Add the baked decorations, scattering over the surface.

Cool down for about 5-6 minutes and serve your guests with a beverage of their choice (or being offered), a small plate and napkin. Enjoy the day!

Lime Delight Cheesecake

These are two things I really love….limes and cheesecake. This is soooo smooth and delicious you won’t believe that it is light in the calorie department, but it is. You can actually have two slices at one time, if you want to.


  • 16 graham wafers, broken
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp. lime zest
  • 1 cup 2% cottage cheese
  • 1 pkg. regular cream cheese
  • 2 pkg. light cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup 2% Greek Yogurt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp. lime zest
  • 3 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp. icing sugar
  • 1/4 cup 2% plain Greek Yogurt
  • 4 limes
  • 1 cup granulated sugar


Candied Lime Zest

Use a vegetable peeler and peel strips off the limes, without the pith, from end to end. Cut lengthwise into 1/2 inch strips. In a skillet, bring  2 cups of water to the boil and boil the strips for 1 minute. Drain and set the strips aside.

In the same skillet, bring 1 cup water and sugar to the boil and boil for 2 minutes. Add the lime strips and reduce the heat. Cook until they become transluscent (10 minutes). Drain, discarding the syrup. Place the strips on a rack over waxed paper and let dry (12 hours).

Graham Crust

Grease the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan . Line the sides with parchment paper. Center the pan on a large square of tin foil and press the foil up the side of the pan.

Process the graham crackers with the sugar to make a cup of fine crumbs. Add the butter and lime zest and pulse until just moistened. Press over the base of the prepared pan and bake in a 325 degree oven for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool down.


Drain the cottage cheese over a bowl for 30 minutes and shake to remove any excess liquid.

In a processor, whirl the cottage cheese until paste consistency. Add the cream cheeses and yogurt and process until smooth for about 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl often. Add the sugar, lime zest and juice, and vanilla processing until well combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, pulsing after each one. Spread this now over the crumb  base and smooth the top with an off-set spatula.

Set the pan inside a larger pan. Set on the oven shelf and add anough hot waterto come up 1 inch on the side of the smaller pan.( Doing it this way avoids spilling of water or getting burned.)

Bake in a 300 degree oven until the shine has disappeared and the edge is set (the center still jiggle slightly). This should take 1 1/2 hours.

Turn off the  oven and leave the door open. Let cake stand in a warm oven for about 1 hour. Remove from the water and transfer to a rack. Remove the tin foil and let cool completely. Cover and refrigerate for about 4 hours.


Whip the cream with the sugar and fold in the yogurt. Spread over the top of the cake and refrigerate for 1 hour. Remove the side of the pan and arrange the candied lime zest around the outer edge of the cheesecake.


This, my friends, will take you over the top in the dessert department.

Sweet Potato Gratin

Time to find different ways to serve potatoes of any kind, and this is a pretty good way to do it.


  • 2 tsp. butter
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 large eggs
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced in 1/2 inch rounds
  • 1/2 small red onion, peeled and sliced in 1/8 inch rounds (if you must..) just kidding!
  • freshly grated asiago cheese for garnish

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Brush 4 ramekins with butter and set aside.

Whisk together the eggs, cream, salt,  pepper and nutmeg in a bowl. Add the potatoes and onion slices and toss to coat.

Using clean hands, arrange alternately the potato and onion slices and pack them tightly. Pour the cream mixture over them, filling the ramekins 3/4 full. Sprinke the tops with grated asiago cheese.

Place the ramekins on a parchment lined cooking sheet and bake until tender and starting to brown (about 45-50 minute).

Remove from the oven, set on a rack to cool for 5 minutes and then serve. You should serve the ramekin on a plate and add whatever the meat and vegetable you are preparing.

Always remember to make the plate look attractive as we eat with the eyes first, then the food.

Without further ado, pour a glass of wine, pat yourself on the back and remember to repeat…damn I did this. Everyone will think you are an absolute genius.

Root Vegetables In A Honey Balsamic Vinegar

We love roasted vegetables this time of year and when fresh, they are  unbeatable. This should give them a little more respect. Try it!


  • 1 bunch baby carrots, cleaned, peeled and cut lengthwise
  • 1 bunch baby beets, cleaned and quartered
  • 4 turnips, cleaned, peeled and cut lengthwise (small ones)
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss the vegetables with the oil, honey and vinegar to coat well.

On a parchment lined baking sheet, arrange the vegetables in a single layer and roast for about 40-45 minutes, turning once at half the baking time.

Test to see if done and season with a little salt and pepper.


Whatever you choose to serve these with, make sure you have a glass of Pinot Noir close a hand. They pair perfectly well.

Fall Corn Soup

Before the last of the corn is gone, get some more and make this soup. You will be sorry if you miss out.


  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, veins stripped and sliced thinly
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 4 ears of fresh corn, kernels cut from the cob  (reserve the cobs)
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • freshly popped and seasoned popcorn, for garnish

In a pot, melt the butter and add the onion, celery and garlic. Season lightly with the salt and pepper and cook until the onions are translucent (about 5-6 minutes). Add the stock, kernels, corncobs and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat and add the milk, simmer for 15 minutes and add the cream. Stir to mix and remove from the heat.

Cool slightly, and remove and discard the cobs. Puree the soup in small batches until silky smooth. With a fine strainer, strain the soup into a large bowl, pressing hard to extract all the liquid possible.

Season with the following:

Popcorn Garnish

  • Pinch of sweet smoky paprika
  • pinch of cayenne powder
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1/2 lb. crab leg meat (no shell)

Toss the hot popcorn with the spices. Pour the soup into bowls, garnish with the poporn and add some crab leg meat on top.

Serve with Road 13 Chardonnay. Perfect match.


Tiramisu Sundaes

This is a fun version of Tiramisu. Great for the weekend with friends (not just kids, thank you very much) but truly fabulous.

One thing that really makes it “pop” is using parfait glasses (sundae).


  • 2 tbsp. instant coffee crystals
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 2 x 3 oz. packages ladyfingers, cut crosswise into quarters
  • 1 x 14 oz. can condensed milk
  • 8 oz. mascarpone cheese, softened
  • 3 cups whipping cream
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • grated dark chocolate and fresh strawberries for garnish

Dissolve crystals in the hot water and set aside 1 tbsp of the coffee. Brush the ladyfingers with the remaining coffee.

With an electric mixer, beat 3/4 cup of the condensed milk into a large bowl. Add 1  1/2 cups whipping cream, vanilla and reserved coffee until soft peaks form. Carefully fold in the chocolate chips.

In a small saucepan, melt the remaining chips and condensed milk.

To serve, layer the mascarpone, chocolate mixture and ladyfingers in the parfait glasses, starting and ending with the mascarpone mixture. Chill at least 4 hours.

When ready to serve, beat the remaining whipping cream until almost firm peaks form. Top each glass with a generous dollop, sprinkle grated chocolate and top with a fanned out strawberry (not a cherry).

Looks great, tastes great, you’re great!

*Note: If truly for adults, add 1/4 cup Kalhua to the melted chocolate mixture…just sayin’


Provolone and Warm Duck Salad

When Autumn is just around the corner and the last days of a beautiful Summer slowly fading, here is a wonderful transition in salad form.


  • 2 tbsp. white miso
  • 1 tsp. dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 2 tbsp. canola oil
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 6 oz. white button mushrooms, sliced thin
  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 duck legs confit
  • 8  rocket lettuce leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 red delicious apples, julienned
  • 8 slices Provolone cheese, julienned

In a medium bowl, prepare the dressing by whisking together the first 6 ingredients until smooth and well combined. Set aside.

In a frypan, cook the mushrooms with butter until golden, about 7-8 minutes. Season to taste and set in a warming oven to keep warm.

Reheat the duck leg confit according to instructions on the package. When cool enough to handle, shred the meat into bite-size pieces.

Divide the rocket evenly on 6 plates. Add the mushrooms, apple, duck and provolone. Drizzle with the dressing, serve immediately with a wonderful Chardonnay, warm buns and sweet butter.

OMG! This makes my mouth water. Try it….you’ll see.


Crab Ravioli With Lemon Butter

I love all kinds of pasta and I love Crab. Together they are a winning combination. Add a salad, roll, glass of wine and Mama Mia you have a wonderful, tasty dinner.



  • 1 cup Ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup lump crabmeat
  • coarse salt and pepper
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 2 pkg. wonton wrappers (90 pieces required)
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

Mix together the ricotta, crabneat, pinch of salt and pepper and red pepper flakes. Set aside.

Lightly flour a baking sheet and arrange 45 wrappers on a work surface. Keep the remaining 45 wrappers under a damp towel so they won’t dry out. Mound 1 tsp. of the crabmeat in the center. Brush the edges with eggwash and put the remaining wrappers on top.  Press the edges to seal. Cut out the circles with a 2 1/4 inch cookie cutter.

Bring a large pot of water to the boil and add a few of ravioli at a time, cooking until they rise to the top (about 3 minutes).



  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Melt 4 tbsp. of butter in a skillet. Add the ravioli as well as 2 tbsp. of the boiling water. Add the lemon zest and peel and stir to cover.

Serve with a salad, roll and a glass of Chardonnay – well chilled, of course.

Seconds anyone?



Pizza Burgers

In the dog days of summer, the barbecue is still king. Try these out for size. Young and old alike will definitely enjoy these,  wanting more.


  • 2 medium size tomatoes
  • 1 yellow or green pepper
  • Vegetable oil
  • 4 homemade burgers (frozen in a pinch)
  • 1 tsp. mixture of dried basil and organo
  • grated mozzarella cheese

Lightly oil grill and heat the barbecue to a medium temperature. Slice the tomatoes in half and squeeze out the seeds and juice and discard.

Core and seed the pepper and cut into quarters. If using onions (purple), cut into thick rounds. Lightly brush the vegetables with oil and place on the grill. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Place the burgers on the grill. Barbecue with the lid down until the veggies are becoming lightly charred. The peppers and onion will take twice as long (up to 7 minutes) as the tomatoes.

Cook the beef for 6-8 minutes on EACH side. As soon as they are removed from the grill, sprinkle each burger with lots of cheese . Chop the veggies coarsely and place in a bowl. Add the seasonings and mix together. Spoon some on each burger.

These will be best and taste best  if served on grilled squares of  focaccia bread. Now, who wants a glass of wine?



Mushroom Quesadillas

I love mushrooms so this is a favourite to use. Give it a try – I think you will be surprised just how delicious they are.


  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 8 oz. sliced mushrooms
  • 8 oz. portobello mushrooms, chopped
  • fresh basil and fresh parsley
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 8  7-inch tortillas
  • Grated Parmesan cheese (depends on how much  you like cheese)

In a non-stick skillet, melt the butter and add the garlic and all the  mushrooms.  Cook until the liquid is gone, stirring often. Add seasonings.

Spread the mixture over each half of the tortillas, fold over and press to seal. Place in a hot frypan with a bit of butter and drill for about 2 minutes each side, until the cheese melts.

Transfer to a cutting board and let stand for a moment. Cut into wedges, big enough to hold but not so big they look like dinner. After all, this is only an appetizer.

Oh, I forgot, add some sour cream and a glass of wine. There, I’m done!